Home Law International Handbook of Juvenile Justice
Mediation, Art. 17 JCC
Contrary to adult criminal law, the professionally led victim-offender reconciliation (called “mediation” in Switzerland) is specifically regulated: The investigative authorities and the courts can suspend the procedure at any time and order a person or organization from the mediation field to implement a mediation process. If the mediation is successful, the sentencing procedure is halted. If not, the sentencing resumes. Mediation is offered only as a possible option. As a consequence of the “Kann-regulation,” the implementation at the canton level is quite varied (Urwyler & Nett 2012). In some cantons no mediation was carried out, though mediation was often applied in Zhrich. In 213 cases over a 4-year period, over 95 % ended with a settlement. Mediation is relatively more common in the small canton of Fribourg (156 cases in 3 years) and somewhat less common in the cantons of Geneva, Wallis, Aargau, Basel-Land, and Basel- City (Zanolini 2014).
Imprisonment for up to 30 months can be conditionally suspended if an unconditional sentence is not considered necessary to prevent the juvenile from committing more crimes (Art. 35, paragraph 1 JCC). The conditional enforcement is used in 60 % of the sentences. As in the case of adults, it follows the French practice of “sursis.” The sentence is set, but a probation period can be ordered and the enforcement is suspended. If the probation period is passed, the enforcement of the sentence is exempted. Otherwise, the sentence can still be subsequently enforced. In contrast to other countries, in Switzerland other sanctions than prison sentences can also be executed conditionally or partial conditionally. For fines and community service the scope for conditional or partly conditional execution is in principle unrestricted, though the conditional enforcement is seldom applied.
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